Toll hike freeze to cost govt RM994m next year (Updated)

27 Dec 2018 / 13:57 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has decided to maintain the existing toll rates for all vehicle classes on 21 highways across the country that are eligible for an increase in 2019.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today announced the government will incur an estimated RM972.75 million in compensation payments to the relevant highway toll concessionaires for 2019.

When tabling Budget 2019 in November, Lim had announced the moratorium on toll rate increases for intracity highways only.

“The comprehensive toll hike freeze is an ongoing effort by the Pakatan Harapan-led the federal government to alleviate the burden of rising living costs borne by the Rakyat,“ Lim said.

“The comprehensive toll hike freeze for 21 highways across the country for 2019, the toll hike freeze for buses on eight additional highways, along with the abolition of motorcycle tolls for the Penang Bridge (First Penang Bridge), the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge (Second Penang Bridge) and the Second Link in Johor beginning Jan 1, 2019, will cost the government RM994.43 million next year for the benefit of all Malaysians.”

The highways affected include PLUS, Linkedua, Kesas, Elite, LPT 1, Besraya, NPE, LDP, Akleh, BKE, Duke, Mex, Lekas, SDE, Sprint, SKVE, SPDH, NNKSB, Guthrie Corridor, JPP2 and Smart.

As Lim announced when tabling Budget 2019, the government will abolish toll for motorcyclists travelling through the Penang Bridge (First Penang Bridge) and the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge (Second Penang Bridge) in Penang, as well as through the Second Link in Johor.

The Cabinet has also agreed to freeze toll hikes for buses on eight separate highways with an estimated cost of RM1.68 million.

The highways include Grandsaga, Kuala Lumpur-Karak, Borr, Silk, Latar, NPE and Sprint.

Lim’s announcement also comes after another that said the Bantuan Sara Hidup direct cash aid will be paid out earlier, in January, and using the previous records used for the discontinued 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M).

A month before the May 9 general election, Pakatan Harapan had pledged in its manifesto to end toll charges nationwide in stages.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, however said the promise could not be fulfilled two months ago.

Previously, Lim had announced the tolls for both Penang Bridge and Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge and Johor’s Second Link will be abolished next year.

Works Minister Baru Bian had said that the government was mulling alternatives to abolishing tolls, including off-peak discounts and avoiding rate hikes for the next few years.

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